Coming of Age10 Years of Our Legacy
We named it Our Legacy because we had the dream of doing something substantial that we could pass on to our kids. To leave something of substance behind.
10 years is a long time in a fashion brand’s life, what with the countless seasons, collections, and ideas thrown together over long days and sleepless nights. Such a well rounded number offers an opportunity to pause and reflect: Which ideas have stood the test of time? How has fashion itself evolved over this period? For Swedish menswear label Our Legacy, who passed their decennial anniversary just last year, it was a chance to celebrate the subliminal influences that have defined the brand’s journey.
An anniversary themed collection, dubbed TEN (for AW 2015), offered up a mixtape of styles that drew on the greatest hits of seasons past and the aesthetic codes that have come to define the brand. While a mélange of decades, from the 1970s to the 1990s, were credited, the fils rouge running through it were the subcultural influences that the brand has long prescribed to, and those codes of uniform often associated with a pursuit of belonging. Jockum Hallin is one third of the trio behind the label, and his own subcultural references are without question ingrained in the 1990s. It’s a decade that the founders have mined for creative fodder since the brand’s inception.
Of late, 90s nostalgia has been gaining momentum. There is an entire generation of designers, many of them born in the late 1970s and early 1980s, who seem to be driven by references of their teendom. Despite a certain awkwardness and growing pains during these formative years, the 1990s clearly resonates with this generation today, be it via the resurgence of streetwear, classic minimalism, or a throwback to low fi appeal.
In the early years of Our Legacy’s story, Hallin and co-founder Christopher Nying, credited their birth dates (80/81) on the labels of their garments. In truth it was their coming of age in the 1990s in the small Swedish city of Jönköping, that has informed their creative process most. “It was when we became who we are,” says Hallin of the significance of this time . “As a teenager you want to try it all, you want to be everything at the same time, but you also want to belong to something.” Like many teenage boys, Hallin was into skateboarding and snowboarding, pastimes that were founded in the vibrantly graphic punk and hard core music scenes. It was in 1991, after all, that Nirvana brought out Nevermind, and the West Coast hard core scene blew up. This was the pre-internet era, of course, so Hallin got his kicks via Thrasher, NME Magazine and MTV. He even started a band of his own, in which he played guitar and sang backing vocals. They toured around Sweden for many years, eventually supporting many of the bands he had idolised growing up.
Hallin was still touring on and off up until 2005, when he and Nying launched a line of graphic teeshirts, produced in Florence, and inspired by band merchandise. The marriage of authentic influences with high quality products went on to define Our Legacy, and although the styles were ostensibly classic, subcultural references ran deep. “When we take influences from that era we want it to be subtle, we just hint at it, and that’s what people seem to respond to,” says Hallin. “People don’t want to wear the same thing they wore back then, but there are definitely cultural signifiers.”
When Our Legacy launched their first full collection in 2007, bringing on third partner Richardos Klarén in the process, the time was ripe for men’s fashion. “It started to be OK for men to think about how we dress and what we wear – it became more socially acceptable to do that,” Hallin recalls. From day one, the ultimate goal was to build something for posterity: “We took clothing that we inherited from previous generations, classic garments like chinos and button downs, and adapted them for our time. We wanted to take this idea of heritage and make it last longer,” he says. “We named it Our Legacy because we had the dream of doing something substantial that we could pass on to our kids. To leave something of substance behind.”
Now fatherhood has arrived for all of them, and Hallin’s legacy will most likely extend beyond the company they have created, the three stores they have opened together, and even the designs they produced. It will be the cultural signifiers he acquired along the way that will perhaps define him best. His collection of shoes and photography books, for starters, and perhaps most of all, the music that first inspired in him the desire to become a part of something.
Hallin is exacting about his influences and reels off his top five albums of all time with habitual precision. We thought we’d share them with you.
1. Social Distortion – White Trash, White Light, White Heat
2. Rocket from the Crypt – Scream Dracula Scream!
3. Uniform Choice –< em> Screaming for Change
4. Youth of Today – Break Down the Walls
5. Refused – The Shape of Punk to Come